Parenting abroad: THIS is how the Dutch deal with head lice (and it's brilliantly simple)
It's the note or e-mail none of us want to get.
But such is life. The minute you have kids in creche or school, within days, there will be e-mails popping into your inbox warning you that head lice are doing the rounds in your kids'classrooms.
Anyway, touch wood, at the moment, we have yet to contract head lice in this house, but just for precaution, not knowing whether or not it makes a blind bit of difference, I have started using a drop or two of lavender oil on my the kids' pillows at night – as I remember reading somewhere that apparently the smell of lavender puts lice off and makes them seek out another head to lay there eggs in.
The Dutch, however, have a somewhat different – and far more direct – appraoch when it comes to dealing with head lice, apparently.
This is what Irish mum Sinead Hewson, who is based in the country with her Dutch husband and daughter, explained to the Independent:
"The first week after a school holiday, the heads of all children are checked by volunteer parents on site, in school."
Hewson explains how she was a "lice mother" in her daughter's primary school - a volunteer who helps to check the children's heads in school.
"There'll be a Whatsapp group and you'll get a text to say the lice check is on Wednesday, for example, and can all parents check their children. If you volunteer with the school, there'll be a workshop to teach you what to check for. If lice or nits are found, the parents are informed by the school to immediately collect the child and treat for lice. It's part of the school routine."
And while the child's name is never revealed to the class or his or her peers, Hewson explains that most importantly, there is no stigma when a Dutch child gets head lice. Instead, the family is informed and asked it treat it – so that infestation is simply dealt with immediately and very efficiently.
If recurring infestations are found in one family, the family will be visited by a public health nurse.
Oh, and apparently, so common is the practice of parents registering to volunteer that even Queen Maxima of The Netherlands registered as a "lice mother" when her children were in primary school – to show that all children of every social status can get head lice.
See – we have so much to learn from parenting in other countries!